When staffing changes at Masato's company get him transferred to a dead-end job in the middle of nowhere, more suffering and despair seem imminent for the Azuma family. However, Masato approaches the situation with aplomb and comes up with new ways to pave the way for Hikaru to become "a cheerful working adult" with surprising results.
With Hikaru now a 5th grader, Sachiko decides to foster independence in her son by allowing him to go to school on his own. Though the transition goes relatively smoothly, Sachiko and Masato are devastated when Hikaru encounters Oki-kun on his way home from school, only to learn that the boy is being abused in foster care.
Story and art by Keiko Tobe.